Matthew Slater with students. Drapers' Academy is part of Havering Council's new learning village. The new establishment replaced King's Wood School

Future uncertain for Harold Hill Learning Village

Wednesday, November 7, 2012
4.08 PM

The chair of governors of the Drapers’ Academy has said that the Harold Hill Learning Village is a “dream half built”.

Adrian Lyons said that the original dream of creating a learning village in Settle Road, Harold Hill has still not been created.

He said: “It’s sad because we have a smashing academy but there is none of the rest of it that was supposed to be there and we are just waiting until more money becomes available.

“It means that it is a dream half built.”

The plans to create a learning village in Harold Hill were originally unveiled in 2010 as part of the Harold Hill Ambitions programme.

The village, was due to consist of three new learning environments: a new building for Pyrgo Primary School, the redevelopment of Dycorts School and Drapers’ Academy.

The council was given the go ahead to build the academy, despite the government pulling the plug on other school building works.

Work on the £26million Academy was completed earlier this year and it was officially opened by the Queen last week.

But the future of the two other developments that were supposed to be built on the site still remain unclear.

Adrian said: “We were lucky that we managed to get the approval to build the academy and we got in by the skin of our teeth.

“Pyrgo is a smashing school, but it is a very old building and it probably only has 15 more years left so something has to happen.”

Leader of Havering Labour Party Keith Darvill (Heaton) said that the council needs to make education in Harold Hill a priority.

He said: “We were happy to support the concept of a learning village in Harold Hill because we thought that it was putting some much needed investment in Harold Hill, but because of the capital funding from the government the idea of the village has just fallen by the wayside.

“But there is a need for more primary school places in Harold Hill, but the council has decided to prioritise Upminster by expanding Branfil Primary School.”

Deputy Leader of the Council, Cllr Steven Kelly said: “We don’t intend not to pursue the dream and we are looking at other ways it can be fulfilled.”